Heat transfer vinyl, also known as HTV, is a specialty vinyl used to create promotional products and unique designs on fabrics. It is usually in a sheet or roll form and has an adhesive backing.
This allows you to cut, weed and place the vinyl on a fabric or other material for heat application.
Heat transfer vinyl is primary available in single colors. However, some brands offer full-color pattern options. If in a printable version, heat transfer vinyl must be used with a solvent printer and solvent ink. Heat transfer vinyl is best recommended for simple designs that don’t have a lot of colors. This is because every individual pattern and color has to be cut, weeded and finally heat pressed.
While some heat transfer vinyl allow for layering to form multiple designs, it is important to note that more layers make it significantly more difficult to match them up and achieve good end results.
You can use heat transfer vinyl to create special effects with flocked, glow in the dark, glitter, 3D puff and holographic options. The layering of specialty types of vinyl depends on the type you use.
Heat transfer vinyl can be used to create all kinds of products as long as they can take the heat and pressure required to transfer designs. Examples of fabrics that work well with heat transfer vinyl include cotton/poly blends, cotton, polyester and canvas.
You will need certain equipment when using heat transfer vinyl to create designs on fabrics or other materials. They include a good design software and vinyl cutter. Go with a standalone cutter for high volume work and a desktop cutter for low volume. Be sure to purchase a print/cut printer that can do printed vinyl.
A weeding tool for removing any vinyl that will not be pressed onto the product is also a must have. For the actual pressing, get a heat press or use an iron.
There are few things to remember if using an iron. The first is the steam holes. Some irons have them all over the middle and what you should use is an iron with steam holes on the outside or none at all. The reason is that steam holes create an uneven surface.
You should also look at the heat setting. Many people think that the longer you apply heat, the better the results will be. The truth is that doing so will ruin the adhesive on the heat transfer vinyl. The heat settings will vary depending on the fabric. Additionally, there shouldn’t be any water or steam in your iron. It should be completely dry.
- Cut out your design but not before you mirror image it. Make sure you cut the vinyl with the shiny side down.
- Peel off the pieces that are not part of the design and only leave what you want to transfer.
- Lay the transfer on the cloth (shirt, hood, tote bag etc.) You are pressing the design onto. Be sure to lay a piece of fabric over the transfer.
- Get the iron and turn it to the right heat setting depending on the fabric.
- Iron for one minute then allow it to cool off before gently peeling off.
Congrats! You now have a finished product.